Gateway to the West

Settling Canada’s West:

Assiniboine River

The Assiniboine River

Two rivers, the Assiniboine and the Red River meet at the spot presently known as Winnipeg in Manitoba.  In the early 1800’s, British aristocrat Thomas Selkirk tried to create a new colony in Canada’s harsh mid-west. He bought land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1811 to begin settlement.

 

There were many factors that caused its’ demise. Harsh winters and settlers, ill-equipped to handle the cold caused starvation to become a reality. The Hudson’s Bay Company was still fighting with the Northwest Fur Trading Company for dominance. The Métis and various native tribes also felt this colony would lead to losing their hunting and fishing grounds.

There was much fighting including the Seven Oaks Massacre of 1816 when a group of Métis killed 21 men when both parties intercepted each other accidentally. It was the first time Canadians heard of Louis Riel. At that time he was a young man. This was a massacre that was the result of rivalry between the British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company and Canada’s North West Company. The settlers abandoned the site and the land was sold back to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1869 the Federal Government of Canada bought the lands. They started settling Canada’s vast western land.  Once the Canadian Pacific Railroad was built it opened the doors to mass migration to Canada’s west.  Winnipeg was born. In 1870 Manitoba became a province.

 

Winnipeg 1893

Winnipeg in 1893